Roof com­pe­tent to stand trial in church shoot­ing, judge rules

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The white man charged in the shoot­ing deaths of nine black parish­ioners at a South Carolina church last year is com­pe­tent to stand trial, a fed­eral judge ruled Fri­day.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel’s de­ci­sion clears the way for jury selection to restart Monday in the hate-crimes trial of 22year-old Dy­lann Roof.

The judge had de­layed the process of nar­row­ing the fi­nal jury pool Nov. 7 when Roof’s lawyers sug­gested their client ei­ther didn’t un­der­stand the charges against him or couldn’t prop­erly help them with his de­fense.

Roof is charged in fed­eral court with hate crimes, ob­struc­tion of re­li­gion and other counts in con­nec­tion with the June 17, 2015, at­tack at Emanuel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in Charleston.

Roof could face the death penalty if con­victed, au­thor­i­ties said.

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